Group bulletin: 14 April 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

14 April 2023



We hope everyone had a pleasant Easter bank holiday weekend and are enjoying the first signs of spring!

2023 May Local Elections – Important Deadlines

As a reminder, please take note of important deadlines ahead of the local elections on Thursday 4th May:

  • 17 April 11:59pm, Register to vote
  • 18 April 5pm, Register to vote by post
  • 25 April 5pm, Register to vote by proxy
  • 25 April 5pm, Apply for Voter Authority Certificate if you don’t have photo ID

LGA Annual Conference 2023 – Book now!

Booking is now open for the LGA Annual Conference in Bournemouth! Alongside our Innovation Zone of Exhibitors will be a range of Ministers, Council Leaders and special guests to speak on issues such as Asylum, Net Zero, Planning and Levelling-up to name just a few. The Independent Group will also be holding its Annual General Meeting (10am – 11.30am) as well as its Group Dinner (7.30pm – 9.30pm) both on Tuesday 4th July. Take a look at the Conference programme with details of how to book a place. See you in Bournemouth!

Independent Group AGM – ‘Single Transferrable Vote’

One of the issues we will be discussing during our AGM is changing our Independent Group Election voting system from First Past the Post to Single Transferrable Vote (STV). There is lots of information and guidance on how STV works in practice including the Electoral Reform’s Guide to STV.

Councils to keep 100% of Right to Buy receipts!

In a big win for the Independent Group, the Government has announced that councils will be allowed to retain 100% of their ‘Right to Buy’ receipts for the years 2022-23 and 2023-24. The Independent Group has been making the point that councils need to be able to replace homes lost through ‘Right to Buy’ with new social homes, and with the whole of the LGA we will be calling for the change to be made permanent and for discounts to be agreed locally.

Local Enterprise Partnerships

The Government launched an information gathering exercise last month, including an online questionnaire on the impacts of its minded to decision to end the core funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) from April 2024. The LEP future funding information gathering exercise and questionnaire have now been extended to 19 May 2023. Areas that have already submitted a response but wish to review and amend answers are able to submit another response online and email stating they wish to withdraw their previous submission. Government will publish a final decision on guidance and next steps by summer 2023.

Candidates encouraged to take Civility Pledge for upcoming May elections

The ‘Jo Cox Foundation’ is encouraging candidates to take Civility Pledge for upcoming May elections and share it online. The ‘Civility Pledge’ commits candidates to a clean campaign with respect for political discourse.

LGA Board Vacancies

We have received several expressions of interest in response to our LGA Board vacancies. If you are still interested in applying for one of the roles below then please do contact the Independent Group Office email and we shall be in touch after the elections with an application form. If selected, full training and preparation will be provided later in the year by the LGA Independent Group.

  • Children and Young People – Deputy Chair and Member
  • Community Wellbeing – Deputy Chair
  • City Regions – Deputy Chair
  • Improvement and Innovation Board – Deputy Chair
  • Resources – Deputy-Chair and Member

In addition, there are two vacancies available for District Council Members on the District Councils Network. For more information, please contact the Independent Group Office email.

LGA Leadership Academy and Leadership Essentials

The Local Government Association runs two excellent training and development programmes for Councillors looking to improve their knowledge and skills within specific portfolio areas and also for Councillors in leadership positions. If you serve on a council committee or are responsible for a specific portfolio then the Leadership Essentials course is for you. Alternatively, if you are in a leadership position, whether in leadership or opposition, within your local authority then the Leadership Academy can help you meet the day-to-day challenges and better serve the communities you serve. For further information, please contact the Independent Group Office email or the Programme Coordinator Grace Collins.

Next Generation 23/24

Thank you also to those who have expressed their interest in joining the next cohort of the ‘Next Generation Programme’. The programme helps newly elected Councillors and established Councillors in three areas of training and development: personal leadership, political leadership as well as communication and media skills. To register your interest, please do contact the Independent Group Office email. Please note that the official application process will open later in the year, but we are keen to start early to understand the level of interest from our members.

Advancing local and central government collaboration in climate change adaptation 

At the end of 2022, Local Partnerships sent out a survey on behalf of the LGA to local authorities, to give them the opportunity to tell us how the government can support local authorities to adapt to a changing climate. This month, Programme Director Rachel Toresen-Owuor presented these findings at an LGA webinar. You can read the full write up of the webinar on ‘We asked, you answered – local authorities’ climate adaption plans and actions’ website. 

Municipal Journal Achievement Awards finalists announced 

The MJ has officially announced the finalists for all the awards including “Leadership in responding to the climate emergency”. See the full list on The MJ’s Achievement awards 2023 website.

Dates for the Diary

Biodiversity and nature recovery show and tell (virtual webinar)
Thursday 20 April 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

This webinar will showcase notable practice from councils of how to embed and take action to protect and enhance biodiversity in their local areas. It will provide examples of how councils can utilise their green spaces as well as being innovative when it comes to delivering nature recovery activities and preparing for mandatory biodiversity net gain.

Progress on children and young people’s mental health policy in England (virtual meeting)
Thursday 18 May 2023, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Since 2010, numerous children’s mental health policies have been announced, however, children’s mental health needs remain of real concern. This webinar will explore analysis conducted by the Centre for Mental Health and the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC), commissioned by the LGA, to explore these policy announcements and the impact they have.

LGA Local Retrofit Action Planning Programme Launch (virtual webinar)
Thursday 20 July 2023, 10.00am - 11.30am

The LGA will be launching a training programme on housing retrofit. This is to support councils in the development of their local and regional capability to tackle domestic emissions caused by inefficient energy housing. Delegates will hear from councils in the LGA 2022/23 training cohort discuss their local housing retrofit plans. In this webinar you can also find out how you can sign up for the upcoming offer beginning in September 2023.

And finally don’t forget to stay up-to-date with our LGA Independent Group Twitter page where you can follow what’s happening with the LGA Independent Group and stay connected to LGA news and events!

Have a terrific weekend!

LGA Independent Group Office